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In Carrara, there's the 'Sculptor Robot': but shouldn't sculptures be strictly handmade?



In Carrara, in the marble quarries of Michelangelo Buonarroti, there's the "Sculptor Robot".

A gigantic mechanical arm moves slowly towards a block of white marble: the hyper-technological tip spins rapidly and relentlessly.

Jets of water constantly spray to cool the stone, which is delicately yet inexorably worn away by the precision file.

Now, sculptures are made like this: the robot, named BOT1, was created by Robotor and its associate Tor Art, companies founded by two Carrara entrepreneurs passionate about marble and art, Giacomo Massari and Filippo Tincolini, to create marble sculptures, but also in plastic and wood.

The "Sculptor Robot" produces pieces that would normally take a sculptor years of meticulous work to complete and that can now be made in just a few days, saving not only time but also allowing for the creation of art in a safe environment.

In Carrara, they also make perfect replicas of archaeological finds and damaged or destroyed statues, such as a scaled-down reproduction of the Monumental Arch of Palmyra in Syria, destroyed by Isis.

Starting from a photograph or a three-dimensional file sent by the artist, the company's Artificial Intelligence software allows them to create statues commissioned by some of the world's leading artists: here, in short, the new masterpieces are born.

Shall we mention some of the artists who use Robotor? Maurizio Cattelan, Giuseppe Penone, Jeff Koons, Zaha Hadid, Tony Cregg, Marc Queen, Vanessa Beecroft, and many others...

Sculptures with a robot? No, by hand!

Many, however, believe that the "Sculptor Robot" is a heresy because they think a sculpture should be strictly handmade, using traditional methods.

Carrara has a long history as a center of craftsmen and sculptors.

In a large workshop in the center of the city, Diego Zampolini, president of the Cooperativa Scultori di Carrara, is not convinced about the use of robots to create works of art.

"A sculpture finished by a robot is a dead sculpture, one finished by a craftsman, as far as I am concerned, is a living sculpture, a fresh sculpture, a true sculpture. For me, a sculpture cannot be made by a robot, because it must be made by hand, it is something that must be done together by the craftsman and the artist, there must absolutely be this special symbiosis," says Zampolini.

"With the robot, the life of artists changes"

Retorts Filippo Tincolini, co-founder of Robotor.

"Craftsmen who have not yet tried this technology are wary, fearing that their work or their creation will be stolen. But after the first approach, they understand the potential, begin to use it, and their life changes: because they can work more and they can work better."

"For artists, new technologies are indispensable"

Giacomo Massari, the other co-founder of Robotor, is convinced that it is in the interest of "traditional" artists to embrace technology to succeed in the highly competitive world of contemporary art.

"We can say that robotics, for those who understand its true value, has an added value. This is because it helps craftsmen in their physical efforts, allowing them to specialize in finishing touches, which are the ones that make the difference, in addition to making them competitive in the market, which is extremely demanding in terms of production, timing, and exhibitions. Therefore, those who want to stay in the world of contemporary art production must equip themselves with the necessary technological tools."

Who is right?

Who knows what Michelangelo would have thought of the "Sculptor Robot"...

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